October 4, 2013

Dancers’ Blog: Regional Tour Reflections

Dancers and crew arrived back onto a sunny wharf last week after having a weeks rest from gallivanting all about Victoria and Tasmania. Our Kinship tour was a great success, with many full houses and inspired feedback from theatregoers. Our last stop was the Theatre Royal in Hobart, one of the oldest and most splendid theatres in the country. In addition to performing in such a grand space, we spent our spare time traversing the pretty town, and driving through Tasmania’s lush countryside. In passing Oyster Cove one day, I was transported back to a few years ago, when we brought the Mathinna story back to country in Hobart. The local community in Hobart were overjoyed to have us back, and the touching memories of connecting with mob were revived when we saw them all again. Every time I go to Tasmania I am inspired by the community. They are a strong, resilient and proud people, fighting for the future of their culture every day. We were blessed to teach a large portion of the kids some workshops, and I very nearly broke into tears after one girl, about 14, welcomed us onto her ancestor’s land with a self written and moving welcome. I heard the pride and the tenderness toward her ancestral country, and throughout the rest of the workshop continued to be awe inspired watching the next generation of Tasmanian Aborigines working hard, staying strong and knowing who they are, where they come from, and excited about their future. The community in Tasmania has a lot to teach us all about perseverance and pride, and holding onto the precious thing that sometimes we can take for granted; Culture.

Jasmin Sheppard

Image: Jasmin Sheppard and Hobart workshop participants 2013, photo by Tiffany Parker

September 3, 2013

Dancers’ Blog: ‘Kinship’ Regional Tour 2013

We are two weeks into our Kinship regional tour of Victoria and Tasmania. On our very first day we were welcomed onto Wathaurong land by the community on the Bellarine Peninsula, Geelong. Acknowledgement by the local mob brings a sense of unity and purpose to our performances and to touring itself. We are more than a dance company, we are a thread of Indigenous people from all across the country, and it is important to recognise where we are and also bring something of ourselves to the communities where we visit. The Wathaurong people are part of the great Kulin Nation, which spans Melbourne, its outer regions and central Victorian districts. The Kulin Nation are protected by their creator, Bunjil the eagle. Bunjil is the God figure of the all the tribes within the Kulin Nation, he is the protector and came to the people in the eagle form. Throughout this tour we spend a great deal of time in Bunjil’s territory. We recently performed in Dandenong, the traditional land of the Wurundjeri, also a tribe of the great Kulin Nation. I myself grew up in Frankston, outer Melbourne, traditional land of the Boon Wurrung people, and I feel like my own childhood and life there by the bay was protected and looked over by the spirit of Bunjil. We will be touring there this a week, and then returning to Wurundjeri land when we perform in Nunawading. Our performances have been successful so far on this regional tour, and I thank the spirit of Bunjil for watching over us as we perform throughout his country, and in addition I thank him for watching over me throughout all my life, up until the point where I left to follow my love of dance in Sydney.

Jasmin Sheppard 

Image: Kathy Balngayngu Marika, Yolande Brown, Leonard Mickelo & Deborah Brown in Brolga from Kinship 2013, photo by Greg Barrett.

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